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Baltimore County Now - News You Can Use

Baltimore County Now

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Keyword: bcpl

Your local county library

by Jamie Watson

Collection Development Coordinator

Baltimore County Public Library

A trip down the ocean is part of every Baltimore County resident's summer routine, but what's the point of going to the beach without a good book to read? Before you make your way to the beach this summer, swing by your local branch of the Baltimore County Public Library and get some great beachside entertainment, free of charge.

The newest Jack Reacher novel comes out in September, and the first Jack Reacher movie, starring the ubiquitous-this-summer Tom Cruise, will be out in December. If you’ve not read this thriller series, about a former military policeman, Killing Floor is his first, although you can jump into this series anywhere. Baltimore County Public Library has volumes of the series in print, large type, book on cd, Playaway, downloadable audiobook, e-book, and even one volume in Russian!

Another hot genre for summer escapes is paranormal romance. Melissa de la Cruz began her series, The Witches of East End,  last summer. Set in the Hamptons, it features two sisters and a mother who have been alive for hundreds of years, but are currently forbidden from practicing their magic – until now. The first volume ended on a cliffhanger, but never fear, Serpent’s Kiss, the follow-up, came out this summer.

Fiction written for teens remains hot, especially on the heels of The Hunger Games, but don’t write it off as “kids books.” Many of the hottest teen books can be enjoyed by readers of all ages. John Green’s The Fault in our Stars tells the story of two teenagers, Hazel and Gus, who are suffering from terminal cancer. All the tropes of a teen novel are here – growing up, life’s purpose, the opposite sex, friendship, your family, but at an accelerated speed – because unlike most teenagers, Hazel and Gus don’t think they’re going to live forever. This is one to read in an air-conditioned room, not the beach or pool, unless you’re ready to shed a few tears in public.

Finally, it’s almost Olympics time! It’s also the 20th anniversary of the Dream Team – the US Olympic basketball team made up of Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley and more. Sports journalist Jack McCollum was “embedded” with the team from their inception to their Gold Medal, and he has lots of tales to tell!

None of these strike your fancy? Come check out Baltimore County Public Library’s newest blog, Between the CoversRecent posts on cozy mysteries, small-town romance, and even books for kids will have suggestions to keep the whole family busy for the rest of the summer!


by Sneaks the Cat

I can haz Summer Reading Club?

You know, we cats don't really talk like that. It's a common misconception, but as you can see, I have excellent diction and reading skill. I have the Baltimore County Public Library's Summer Reading Club to thank for that.

Speaking of the Summer Reading Club, this year's theme is "Dream Big, Read!" for preschool and elementary school-age children, and "Own the Night" for kiddos middle-school-age and older. Both programs will be exploring the nocturnal world, and I have to admit I'm pretty excited seeing as how I'm a bit of a night owl myself. Why waste that fantastic night vision by sleeping all night? Besides, I'm much rather catch a cat nap in a nice warm patch of sunlight. I'm getting drowsy just thinking about it.

Where was I? Ah, yes, Summer Reading Club's ultimate aim is to prevent "summer reading loss," which occurs when students fail to read over the summer to bolster the reading skills they've acquired over the past school year. Reading just four to five books over the summer months can contribute significantly to the retention of reading ability necessary to advance in the following academic year.

As they read, Club members fill out a game board. As they complete their boards, kids can pick up great prizes like glow-in-the-dark glasses and fiber-optic toys. Teens can enter to win prizes such as an iPod Touch, iPod Shuffle, Kindle Fire, a Hunger Games book bundle, gift cards, and even mystery prizes. I wanted a ball of yarn, but I was outvoted.

Children who are not yet old enough to read can still participate. The Read-to-Me Summer Reading Club is for ages birth to 5. High school students and adults can join the fun, too, by following along with BCPL's Goodreads group and entering to win prizes.

While the Summer Reading Club has been going on for quite a while, I joined the team in 1986. That's 26 years! Wow, time flies when you've got 9 lives. I was wearing Jams shorts back then, but hey, we've all got embarrassing photos from the 80s, right?

In a little over two decades, we've grown the program from 3,522 students to 45,971 last year. I've gone on safaris, traveled to the Middle Ages, and even launched into outer space. One year they even wrapped me up like a mummy for a trip to Egypt. It's been a blast!

Club materials will be available at branches beginning June 11. You can pre-register now by signing up at your local library or at www.bcpl.net/summerreading. Read books; win prizes!


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